Adolf Luther

1912 in Uerdingen/Germany – 1990 in Krefeld/Germany

Adolf Luther was a main representative of kinetic art and optical art, closely linked to the ZERO artists around Günther Uecker, Heinz Mack and Otto Piene. His lens and mirror objects became an integral part of the ZERO movement, and he took part in several joint exhibitions. In 1969, Luther received his first comprehensive museum exhibition at the Morsbroich Museum in Leverkusen. Solo exhibitions in renowned museums followed, such as the Folkwang Museum in Essen in 1971, the Kunsthalle Basel in 1973, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in 1974 and the Haus Lange Museum in Krefeld in 1977.

Luther was awarded the title of professor by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1979. In 1982, Adolf Luther received the Thorn-Prikker plaque of honor from the city of Krefeld, followed by the Order of Merit from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1989, and in 1990 he received honorary citizenship of the city of Krefeld.

Biography

As an artist, Adolf Luther was a career changer. He first studied law at the University of Bonn, where he received his doctorate in 1943 and then worked as a judge in Minden and Düsseldorf. From 1942 onwards he increasingly devoted himself to painting, and in 1957 he finally gave up his job in favor of his artistic work – with the declared goal of making light visible through the means of art.

In his early abstract “color field paintings” around 1958 and his subsequent “matter paintings,” Luther placed the materiality of color at the center of his work. Instead of brushes, Luther used combs or sticks; in his “dematerializations” he pressed together two hardboard sheets that had been coated with paint and left the surface structures that emerged when they were torn apart to chance.

Dematerialization remained Luther’s passion: by breaking glass, he finally found an optimal medium for light. Glass fragments and shards, filled between two intact panes of glass and placed in front of the window, made radiation, refraction and reflection of light visible. A new art emerged from the act of destruction: from the beginning of the 1960s, Adolf Luther made mirrors and glass his artistic medium. His famous “light locks”, “concave mirror objects” and “lens objects” were created.

WORKS

News

Publications

Enquiry